Several founders still believe that organizational culture develops on its own, but that is far from the truth. Even today, culture takes a backseat to product development, sales, marketing, and other aspects of running a business. Far too many leaders believe that it can be ignored, and therefore they check culture off the list of things that need their immediate attention. For companies that look at the cultivation of a culture as a competitive advantage, it's not an HR thing – it's a business priority. The best leaders in the world truly believe that the single most precious resource for any growing organization is remarkably talented employees. Google, for example, has been able to identify and hire truly exceptional individuals, and the tech-giant gives its employees a lot of leeway to create incredible things.
A lot of executives in a host of different companies think that they don't need to pen down their culture as their employees know what it is. However, if your newest and most junior employees can't answer what your culture stands for without being prompted, you probably need to consider having it in writing so everyone is on the same page. Companies need to understand that their employment brand is only as clear and strong as it is consistent among the different levels and groups within their organization. Founders, with the help of their company's senior management, need to communicate their vision for culture by investing time to codify it.
Once you have your company culture written down, you need to gain employee input and make the document public-facing. Too many companies rely on internal wall posters to spread their culture with the world. Keeping your culture enclosed within your four walls won't help you attract more candidates and clients. You need to start by debating what your culture stands for, write it, edit it, and then finally ship it. The culture document that you generate should be more like the Constitution than the Ten Commandments. It need not be etched in stone, but it needs to be flexible enough to address major changes that require updates.
Don't try to create a culture that will appeal to one and all. In an effort to attract everyone, you will interest no one, because you won't be honest about what it's like to work at your company. Think about the people who thrive at your company and see what traits they have in common, and based on those traits create a culture that will appeal to the individuals you want to bring on board. Once you have the best talent working for you, measure employee happiness on a quarterly basis by requesting all your employees to partake in a survey. Keep the questions of the survey short and sweet and publish the data for the entire organization to see.
Give your company culture a starring role instead of a supporting role in your organization. Be willing to put in the time and energy that is required to prioritize your culture to make your brand even better than it already is.